Do It For The Children

When children hurt, we all hurt. But when we hurt children, we must be stopped. Like so many of my fellow human beings, I’m outraged and heart-wrecked that our country founded on freedom, and built by those who crossed borders and seas to live a better life, has any part in fissuring families. Okay. So I’m sad. I’m mad. So what???

I have an inkling of how those little children feel. One Saturday night when I was seven years old, the welfare barged into our house, accompanied by police officers bearing guns. I hid in the kitchen cupboard, but they found me and pulled me out. They separated me from my only parent, my mother, an alcoholic whom they deemed unfit. They separated me from my only sibling, my older brother, and my life’s protector. They put me in the back of a police car alone.

The foster home they thought had been arranged, hadn’t. So now there was no place to put me. I remember people arguing about where they could put me.

“Put me back where you found me,” I cried.

They ignored me, decided there was only one option to “help” me, and they drove me to jail. Grown up jail. They thought I was safe and better off because they gave me my own cell. I won’t tell you what happened, and I won’t compare my plight with the pain of the children around the world who are being separated from their families, but I will tell you that this is my country, and it won’t happen here if I can help it. Kids won’t be able to just “get over” what’s happening to them. Their parents will not morph into whatever the powers want them to be.

This situation will not change until we change. We do that by speaking up, standing up, and looking up. The God so many have forsaken may well be the only power with the strength and the wisdom to remedy this.

If any good is coming from the horror, pain, and outrage, it’s a glimpse into how malignant and misaligned a cohort can be, but above that, how compassionate humanity can be when united in a just and desperate cause.

Erase the political lines and bond us.

Let’s find a better way. Let’s speak up until we are heard. Let’s stand up until the bullies stand back. Our voices are the ones that must speak for those who can only cry in the dark for “Mami” and “Papi.”

You know what? Those welfare reps and police officers thought they were doing what was best for me. They thought they’d bully my mother into becoming “fit.”

They were wrong on all accounts.

So now what do we do? We pray, first and fervently. We call our representatives.  We keep calling until they answer.  We change leaders and we change laws. We go to the polls in droves. We go to the borders if we have to. We hold the children and hold ALL those who harm them accountable. God help us to never become calloused or complacent where a child suffers.

And we’re all children.

And all one family.

My prayer is that we’ll remember that and start acting like it.

Love is the only antidote for hatred. But love demands action and so let’s love on a higher level than we’ve ever loved before. Let’s do it for the children.

A Rainy Day, Donald Trump and Me

I was with HER. But that doesn’t change the fact that Donald Trump once showed me a generous side of humanity. So I share this story, not to offend, but because mudslinging doesn’t do anything but make a mess.

This is a photo of my two sons, brothers, playing in the mud. If you don’t know that I have white sons and black sons, and in-between children, you might interpret this photo inaccurately. Fact is, it was a rainy day and I wanted those boys to play in the mud because I wanted the image. At my encouragement, they took turns plastering each other. Splashing. Laughing. Being brothers. And making one heck of a mess.

Now I want to tell you a story of another rainy day. Early one morning ten years ago I walked outside of a NYC building owned by Donald Trump. There was a downpour and I was ill prepared. So there I stood on the curb, trying to hail a taxi when a car pulled up. A couple of men climbed out and one happened to be Mr. Trump. Now I’m nothing that would lure his attention my way. I’m middle-aged and far from a double-zero with double-D’s. But he still saw a woman caught in the rain and offered me an umbrella.

“Thank you, but I can’t accept it because I’m headed to the airport and won’t be able to return it.”

“It’s yours,” he said.

That was that.

The umbrella is in my closet. My kids know not to mess with it because it’s symbolic of unwarranted and unexpected kindness. Every time I see it I want to be a little more thoughtful and a lot more cognizant of those in need around me.

The umbrella presented a mystery during this past political campaign. Where was the kindness that had been extended to me? I hope it surfaces for the whole wide world, and I hope that I can better cultivate it in my own life.

I tell this story not so you’ll want to borrow my umbrella, but to think about something Aristotle believed, “Fear is pain rising from the anticipation of evil.”

Let’s not anticipate the worst. Let’s not live in fear and pain. We’re still Americans—free to choose. Let’s choose to not allow our differences to divide us. Because there is change around us does not have to mean there is change within us.

Aristotle also observed that: “We are what we repeatedly do.” Let’s repeatedly choose kindness, strength, love, respect, inclusion, support and unity.

How we come together and not come undone…is the history that we can still decide, it’s the history yet to be made. Yes, it’s storming and we’re all outside in a deluge. Will we share an umbrella? Oh, I sure, sure hope so.